Hypermiling Driving Habits - Chevy Bolt EV Forum
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post #1 of 86 (permalink) Old 09-12-2018, 11:00 AM Thread Starter
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Lightbulb Hypermiling Driving Habits

These are the driving habits that will help you win the game:

Drive Gently.
Like there was a double-tall extra hot with no foam sitting on the dashboard in front of you and you didn't want to WEAR it.

Find Your Sweet Spot.
There's a "sweet spot" for every motor (maximum efficiency RPM's). If you keep your eye on the ammeter, says the new Build Your Own Electric Vehicle, you can maximize your range by minimizing your current flow as you drive.

The Meter's Running.
Use the accelerator and the brake like they were on a meter, and you had to put quarters in to use them. I learned this hypermiling technique a long time ago, in a car with worn-out brake pads. I didn't care about fuel economy, I just didn't want to hear that awful scraping noise. Hey, a habit is a habit; )
The accelerator drains your battery pack in two ways: First, by increasing your need to brake (what goes up must come down, including your speed!), and second, because of the Lead-Foot Tax (Peukert effect).
The brake drains your battery pack by converting your hard-earned momentum into friction. Who needs more friction?

No Tailgating.
Unless the Raiders are in town and you're thinking "barbecue in the parking lot", tailgating is a bad thing. It only invites you to accelerate and brake on somebody else's schedule.

Pulse and Glide.
There's a trick to this, but in a nutshell, it means accelerate (gently) up to a certain speed, then back off the accelerator, then start again before you lose too much momentum. You're going for an average speed.

Go With The Flow.
Noticing what other drivers are doing around you will minimize the need to do the Brake-Stomp. If you had to drive with no brakes, you'd be watching what people were doing several cars ahead and behind, not just the car immediately in front of you. Hypermiling actually requires more attention to traffic flow to maintain an average speed, so hypermilers probably get in fewer car crashes, too.

Coasting.
It's a whole different ballgame in an electric car, because you don't have engine compression to slow you down. You can coast a long, long time - provided you don't have regenerative braking - and most EV drivers take full advantage of it.

Regenerative Braking.
Uses your motor as a generator to stuff your momentum energy BACK into your battery as electrical energy. An AC system does this rather efficiently. I've never heard of a DC system that had regeneration worth bothering with. If you've got good regeneration, your driving technique can afford to be less fuel-economical, because you can recapture your momentum energy. There's still a Lead-Foot Tax, but less of a Brake-Stomp Tax. It's not perfect. The motor can't regenerate electricity as fast as you can stomp the brake, so some will be lost.

Eye on the Prize.
Driving an EV is unfamiliar at first, but you have a meter on your dash to help you learn to drive correctly: the ammeter. Less is more. Notice what stomping on the accelerator and going up a hill do to the ammeter reading.

Lower Gear, Better Range.
With series DC electric motors, a lower gear increases the RPMs, which reduces amp draw from the battery (and increases range). Dan Bentler, EV Motors instructor at SSCC, says, "Gas-guzzler engines have a different torque curve than do electric motors. You want to be in whatever gear it takes to get you at the optimum spot on the torque curve. A lot of electric car converters are using series wound DC motors, so use a lower gear, speed the motor up, reduce the amps and save the controller."

Courtesy of Seth Leitman's collective EV Wisdom

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post #2 of 86 (permalink) Old 09-12-2018, 11:18 AM
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All are great tips, but I strongly recommend the coasting as much as possible. On fast moving highways, coasting is easier because you have more time and distance to let the EV ride on momentum and accelerate slowly to catch up. If you are really 'tight" on range, coast more and use regeneration only when a speed reduction is really needed.

This method works even for hybrids and ICE vehicles as a gas saver, too.

My other recommendation is personal and not technical: plan your trips to reduce stops and avoid slow traffic or jams, especially in morning and evening "rush hours". I am retired, but I drove through hour-long traffic almost every day, so now I plan my trips to travel later in the morning and return earlier in the afternoon, or travel at night wit the lightest traffic. I also take the farthest stop first and drive returning while doing the next stops.
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post #3 of 86 (permalink) Old 09-12-2018, 11:36 AM
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Coasting.
It's a whole different ballgame in an electric car, because you don't have engine compression to slow you down. You can coast a long, long time - provided you don't have regenerative braking - and most EV drivers take full advantage of it.
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All are great tips, but I strongly recommend the coasting as much as possible.
Yes, for last century ICEs.

But No for today's Bolt. Been discussed here many times and for Bolts, the coasting myth is busted. Facts will never convince some to give up the habits of long standing; just don't expect everyone to agree.

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Pulse and Glide.
There's a trick to this, but in a nutshell, it means accelerate (gently) up to a certain speed, then back off the accelerator, then start again before you lose too much momentum. You're going for an average speed.
Again, only works for last century ICEs. In the Bolt, it's a waste of effort.

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Lower Gear, Better Range.
With series DC electric motors, a lower gear increases the RPMs, which reduces amp draw from the battery (and increases range). Dan Bentler, EV Motors instructor at SSCC, says, "Gas-guzzler engines have a different torque curve than do electric motors. You want to be in whatever gear it takes to get you at the optimum spot on the torque curve. A lot of electric car converters are using series wound DC motors, so use a lower gear, speed the motor up, reduce the amps and save the controller."
Say what? My BEV experience is limited to Tesla, BMW and the Bolt, but which mainstream BEVs give a choice of gear ratios?

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My other recommendation is personal and not technical: plan your trips to reduce stops and avoid slow traffic or jams, especially in morning and evening "rush hours". I am retired, but I drove through hour-long traffic almost every day, so now I plan my trips to travel later in the morning and return earlier in the afternoon, or travel at night wit the lightest traffic.
Agree completely. Retired folk should seldom be in rush hour traffic. I aim most of my errands around 10:00 A.M.

We have some friends on the other side of town who began inviting us for an early dinner on Friday. (And they're Presbyterian!) I had to explain the illogic of retirees choosing to be in the worst rush hour traffic of the week when we could dine with them any hour on any day.

jack vines

Last edited by Packard V8; 09-12-2018 at 11:59 AM.
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post #4 of 86 (permalink) Old 09-12-2018, 01:36 PM
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As Packard states, hypermiling techniques that apply to ICE vehicles go out the window in an EV.

Further, many of the more "extreme" hypermiling techniques, the same ones that can annoy other drivers and lead to dangerous situations offer little to no benefit in an EV, particularly "pulse and glide".

I think it boils down to essentials:
1. Moderate speed. this is especially true in the Bolt which has rather poor aerodynamics. But don't drive significantly slower than the flow of traffic especially if you're on a single-lane road.
2. Avoid the brakes, not to say don't brake when needed (safety first) but the more you can avoid situations where you need to apply the brakes the better. This means anticipating changes in traffic as much as possible, leaving a very healthy distance between you and the car in front of you and using the Bolt's excellent regen as much as possible. Most of the time I drive my car I don't need to use the brakes at all.

On point 1 I want to be clear that IMO driving more than 10% below the natural flow of traffic (what speed most drivers drive at) is considerably more dangerous than tailgating because in these situations you are forcing many/most of the other drivers to pass with each pass presenting another opportunity for a collision. Not saying that I encourage tailgating but being a "road hog" is absolutely positively dangerous. Thankfully on most multi-lane roads in the U.S. the right lane is the domain of "slow moving vehicles", mostly semi trucks. Perfectly fine to drive 55 in the right lane with the rest of the slow pokes but if the lane next to the right lane is going 70-75 you'd better not drive slower than 70 in that lane even if the speed limit is 65.

I do try to moderate my acceleration and attempt to keep my power usage under 20kW but I'm not actually convinced this helps in any meaningful way.

Pure "coasting" will be at best no benefit to an EV (unlike an ICE vehicle), there is some debate whether D mode or L mode is more efficient (in most driving situations L mode will be more efficient for sure but there may be limited situations where D mode is marginally more efficient). Also worth noting that in almost any halfway modern (made in the last ~20 years) ICE vehicle you only benefit from coasting if you're in gear, in neutral you're wasting gas.

As for traffic jams, actually these are great from a pure efficiency perspective, they keep the speeds down and regen helps you recapture most of your deceleration energy. My car between 4.8-5.0kMi/Wh on surface streets with stop signs and predictable traffic lights, but if I'm on the freeway doing 60-70 on a steady state it's close to 3.7Mi/kWh or 4.0-4.2Mi/kWh in traffic ranging between 15 to 70.
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post #5 of 86 (permalink) Old 09-12-2018, 06:42 PM
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I suppose the other way to game the system is to draft behind a semi truck when you're on the highway. Yes, it's dangerous as **** but you should get 20-40% drag reduction at a reasonable distance...and with these cars reducing drag is everything.

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post #6 of 86 (permalink) Old 09-12-2018, 07:11 PM
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The Bolt has an EPA rating of 128 MPGe city and 110 MPGe highway.

Basically, I’m hypermiling whenever I drive it.
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post #7 of 86 (permalink) Old 09-12-2018, 08:08 PM
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Peukert is just the battery.. you've also got non linear losses as you ramp up the amps in all the other components. Motor losses, controller, suspension movement, wire resistance, tread block squirm to name a few. All up in heat... hot motor, hot controller, hot shocks, hot wire, and hot tires. Plus extra energy for the cooling system.

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Originally Posted by raitchison View Post
..you are forcing many/most of the other drivers to pass with each pass presenting another opportunity for a collision. Not saying that I encourage tailgating but being a "road hog" is absolutely positively dangerous.
Yup, if you screw the pooch and crash while hypermiling.. that probably puts you off in a worse place energy wise than if you never hypermiled in your life. Fixing crash damage uses lots of energy. So kind of pointless unless done safely.
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post #8 of 86 (permalink) Old 09-12-2018, 09:55 PM
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The keys to hypermiling in an EV are a bit different, as others have stated. It really comes down to these for the Bolt EV (and other BEVs):

Speed
Speed is king. The slower you go (to a point) the better. The Bolt EV is most efficient at about 20 mph.

Tire Pressure
Tire pressure should be at or slightly above max cold pressure indicated on the sidewall, which reduces rolling resistance. Rolling resistance is your primary energy draw up to about 35 to 40 mph.

Avoid Braking
Avoid any and all braking, including regenerative braking. It's all wasted energy.

Constant Speed, Direction, and Elevation
For the highest efficiency, you need to maintain a constant speed, direction, and elevation. Accelerating wastes energy. Decelerating wastes energy. Changes in elevation force regenerative braking, which wastes energy.

Accessory Usage
Limit accessory usage. Unlike ICE vehicles, the parasitic losses in BEVs is very low. Outside of aerodynamic drag and rolling resistance, accessories such as climate control, radio, infotainment center, headlights, and 12 V accessories use the most energy.

Route Selection
Choosing the correct route allows you to maximize all of the principles listed above.
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Originally Posted by NewsCoulomb View Post
The keys to hypermiling in an EV are a bit different, as others have stated. It really comes down to these for the Bolt EV (and other BEVs):

Speed
Speed is king. The slower you go (to a point) the better. The Bolt EV is most efficient at about 20 mph.

Tire Pressure
Tire pressure should be at or slightly above max cold pressure indicated on the sidewall, which reduces rolling resistance. Rolling resistance is your primary energy draw up to about 35 to 40 mph.

Avoid Braking
Avoid any and all braking, including regenerative braking. It's all wasted energy.

Constant Speed, Direction, and Elevation
For the highest efficiency, you need to maintain a constant speed, direction, and elevation. Accelerating wastes energy. Decelerating wastes energy. Changes in elevation force regenerative braking, which wastes energy.

Accessory Usage
Limit accessory usage. Unlike ICE vehicles, the parasitic losses in BEVs is very low. Outside of aerodynamic drag and rolling resistance, accessories such as climate control, radio, infotainment center, headlights, and 12 V accessories use the most energy.

Route Selection
Choosing the correct route allows you to maximize all of the principles listed above.
Agree with all the above, but it's antshit. The fuel-in cost of driving a Bolt is so infinitesimally low as to make worrying about the above a non-issue. Your opinions and results may vary. (Tell the mother trying to get her kids to school on time and then make it to work on time to keep it to 20 MPH and avoid braking and accelerating - good luck with that!)

jack vines
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Last edited by Packard V8; 09-12-2018 at 11:02 PM.
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post #10 of 86 (permalink) Old 09-12-2018, 11:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Packard V8 View Post
Agree with all the above, but it's antshit. The fuel-in cost of driving a Bolt is so infinitesimally low as to make worrying about the above a non-issue. Your opinions and results may vary. (Tell the mother trying to get her kids to school on time and then make it to work on time to keep it to 20 MPH and avoid braking and accelerating - good luck with that!)

jack vines
Oh, I agree. Hypermiling in an EV is a bit of a fool's errand because it is no longer about reducing pollution and a non-renewable fuel source. When you look at hypermiling purely from an economic perspective, you then have to account for how much your time is worth. As an occasional game, it's fine, but it has very little real-world value.

I will admit, though, I'm somewhat curious about just how far along I could make it on my regular 500-mile drive without refueling.
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